How to write effective SEO copy for health care

How to write effective SEO copy for health care

 updated 8.15.2022.

Persuasive, well-written copy helps you sell health care services and products and engage with potential patients or customers. But it doesn’t matter how much money you spend or how compelling your prose is if no one ever sees it.   

SEO (search engine optimization) copy is a specialized form of writing that targets search engines, and it is an integral part of your marketing strategy. This type of writing contains keyword phrases that people might use when searching for information on the internet. Developing the right copy helps your brand move up search engine rankings so that people can discover you.  

SEO content doesn’t replace good writing – they complement each other. Think of SEO copy as the special seasoning that enhances the main course. If you sprinkle those specific words throughout your copy on your website, it helps drive traffic organically to your site through Google or other search engines.  

Whether you’re marketing a pharmaceutical company, a B2B health care business or directly to patients, here are some tips to ensure your SEO copy is high quality and effective.  

Identify strategic keywords  

It’s important to know the specific keywords for your product, service or industry that will drive web traffic to you. Keyword research is critical not only to SEO but also to your overall marketing strategy, as knowing what search terms your prospects are using can give you insight into their thought processes. It will also help you understand their search intent.  

How to pin down the right keywords  

When researching target keywords, start by narrowing your main products or services into “buckets,” and list keywords you’d associate with those buckets. For example, if you’re a hospital offering women’s health services, you could list keywords like:  

  • Obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN)  
  • Labor and delivery  
  • Childbirth classes  
  • Breast cancer screenings  
  • Well-woman visits  

Once you have a comprehensive list, it’s best to use a tool like Semrush to help narrow the field. You should prioritize keywords that give you the best chance of ranking, such as those with little competition and a high monthly search volume. This highly technical piece of SEO is often best handled by the skills, talent and expertise found in digital marketing partners 

Write in the same way people type  

When it comes to the web, it’s important to write like people type when conducting internet searches. Think about it this way: If someone with psoriasis is looking for a doctor, they won’t search “psoriasis doctors.” Instead, they’ll probably search “dermatologists near me.” Thus, “dermatologists in Nashville, TN” would be a good keyword to include in your website copy. Inclusion of your location is important if you’re marketing solely to a local area.  

This concept works the same way with voice searches. How many times have you asked Siri or Alexa a question only to get an answer nowhere close to what you were looking for? Usually, if you reword or change the way you ask, you’ll get a different answer.  

Avoid ‘keyword stuffing’  

It’s important to sprinkle your designated keywords throughout your website, but it’s also important not to overdo it. This is where good writing comes into play. It shouldn’t be obvious that you are writing with SEO in mind – the copy still needs to flow naturally. The last thing you want to do is attract visitors to your site through improved visibility only to drive them away with keyword-heavy copy that is hard to read or doesn’t make sense.  

Be persuasive  

SEO or not, the copy on your website should always be persuasive. If your intention is to drive sales of products or services, you need to effectively convince people why they need your solution. SEO gets them to your website, but helpful, engaging content is what keeps them there.  

Know your language limitations  

Health care and pharmaceutical companies have specific legal limitations around the language they use that were designed to prevent monetary gain from influencing medical decisions. Two of the most important laws to keep in mind, especially when writing calls to action (CTAs), are the Anti-kickback Statute and the Stark Law.   

The Anti-kickback Statute makes it a criminal offense to offer or exchange anything of value to reward business referrals that can be reimbursed by federal health care programs, such as Medicare. “Rewards” could include offering financial incentives for referrals, waving copayments or offering cheap office space to other physicians, among other things. Violating the Anti-kickback Statute could mean paying up to $25,000 in fines or up to 5 years in prison.  

The Stark Law prevents physicians from referring patients to businesses in which they have financial or familial interest. It also prohibits the billing of Medicare or insurance for certain health care services when a referral was improperly made.   

Make sure the piece of content you’re writing complies with federal and local health care laws and rules regarding the disclosure of protected health information (PHI).  

Stay true to your brand  

To position yourself as a top search result for what your business excels in, you must strike a delicate, smart balance. You need effective copy that’s true to your brand but also contains the necessary SEO key phrases that drive web traffic to your site. Make sure all copy is consistent with your overall brand voice and the way you want to position yourself in the market.  

Monitor your progress  

Google offers analytics tools that track how many visitors found and looked at your website, how long they stayed there, what they clicked on and a host of other valuable data. Keep a watchful eye on your metrics to see how well your SEO efforts are working, and be ready to pivot or adjust keywords if needed.  

TruStar Marketing fuses the art and science of marketing to improve your business. We specialize in health care, insurance and high-tech manufacturing industries. Digital marketing that works starts with a free introductory call.